World’s first battery-electric freight train debuts in U.S. amid push for lower rail emissions

September 21, 2021

The world’s first battery-electric freight train was unveiled at an event in Pittsburgh, Pa., earlier this month, amid a fresh attempt by some U.S. lawmakers to slash carbon emissions from rail transport in order to address the climate crisis.

Wabtec, the Pittsburgh-based rail freight company, showed off its locomotive at Carnegie Mellon University as part of a new venture between the two organizations to develop zero-emissions technology to help move the 1.7 billion tons of goods that are shipped on American railroads each year.

Perched upon a strip of rail at Carnegie Mellon’s technology campus on the banks of the Monongahela River, the cherry red, 75-foot-long train provided a striking background to politicians, rail executives and academics who urged a swifter industry transition away from fossil fuels. Dignitaries were allowed to clamber up a vertiginous ladder on to the train to inspect its confines, which included a small driver’s cabin in front of 500 lithium-ion battery modules, arrayed in stacks in the heart of the vehicle.

The new train, known as the FLXdrive battery-electric locomotive, underwent successful trials in California earlier this year where it was found to have cut fuel consumption by 11 per cent, which meant reducing the amount of diesel used by 6,200 gallons. Wabtec said that the next iteration of the locomotive, to be rolled out within two years, will be able to cut the consumption of diesel, the fossil fuel traditionally used in freight rail, by nearly a third.

The company also said emissions will be entirely eliminated through the development of accompanying hydrogen fuel cells. If the technology is used worldwide, Wabtec estimates planet-heating emissions could be cut by 300 million tons a year, with nearly half of those saved emissions occurring in the U.S.

Read more here.

Related News

01.21.22

Carbon capture, hydrogen projects gain funding from Wyoming agency

The Wyoming Energy Authority and Energy Resources Council recommended funding requests for carbon capture utilization and storage projects...

CONTINUE READING >
01.21.22

Kentucky forms a regional hydrogen hub workgroup

The primary purpose of the hydrogen hub workgroup will be to develop projects eligible for funding under the...

CONTINUE READING >
01.20.22

SunLine celebrates new mobile hydrogen refueling station in Indio

SunLine’s growing hydrogen bus fleet can now refuel at a mobile station in Indio, in addition to SunLine’s...

CONTINUE READING >